This is not a drill.
Presenting to an executive isn’t just another sales call. By the time a meeting with a C-suite decision maker is on the calendar, you’ve likely worked your way through middle management and explained your offer to a few people on the way up. But as you prepare for your meeting with an executive who has purchasing power, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: this is your shot to deliver your message to the one person who really needs to hear it. It’s time to bring your A game. It’s time to shine.
Selling to a C-level executive requires a different approach than selling to others in the company, which is why it’s imperative you prepare and follow through in a more strategic way. If you strategize properly, you’ll have a much better chance of running a smooth, exciting meeting, and closing the deal — or at least penciling in another meeting.
Here are five rules for successfully selling to the C-suite:
1. Become an optimized content creator
Chances are, the prospect you’re targeting may already be targeting you. The executive you want to break in with may already be using Google to search for terms relevant to your product or service. It’s a great idea to start a blog and optimize your website for those keywords.
Create posts around those topics to boost your authority and your visibility, but don’t stop there: leverage social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to get more eyes on your content. It’s a proactive way to get on executive-level radar before ever reaching out to them. Having an online body of work with your name attached to it is a fast and easy way for Mr. prospect to vet you, your offer, and your ideas.
2. Choose the right exec
Because there may be several senior-level executives with the authority to make purchasing decisions, be sure to do a little organization mapping to know which executive you should be targeting. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself which executive stands to gain or lose the most from your offer. The best way to do that is to research the company’s history, the tenure of its executives, and who’s been the primary decision-maker over the years. This is easier to do with high-profile companies, but you can also call upon your contacts to help you navigate the waters if you’re calling on SMBs.
Laying this groundwork before ever picking up the phone will save you time and reduce the frustration of bouncing around middle management. But stick to a strict schedule for this type of guerilla research; don’t spend too much time doing detective work.
3. Anticipate problems in a new way
A busy executive doesn’t want to spoon-feed information or get hung up on details in your sales meeting. So to say you should come prepared is an understatement. This meeting is not the time to ask basic questions, or give the impression that you may not understand their goals. You should already know what you bring to the table and exactly how that fits into their business model. Know what they need before they do; anticipate sticking points and explain exactly how your product or service can meet (and exceed!) their needs.
A C-level executive is far more likely to buy from someone they trust and understands the intricacies of their business, so it’s critical you demonstrate this early and often.
4. Role play before the meeting
It might seem silly or awkward at first, but consider taking the time to rehearse your questions and presentation — along with any potential objections — before you ever step foot into the meeting.
You can do this by yourself, but it’s always better to recruit a friend or colleague who can play the role of the executive. As your conversation progresses, you’ll get more comfortable listening (not waiting to talk) and responding to issues they bring up on the fly. It will increase your confidence in your presentation and it will help you learn to handle unexpected questions (and how to get the conversation back on track when it’s gone off course.)
5. Prize your offer
Remember, you believe in your product/service with all your heart. And you’ve worked hard to get this meeting. So there’s no reason to come across sheepish or desperate… ever. You need to stand tall with confidence. And you need to remember that your product/service will make Mr. prospect’s life all-around better. Now, this doesn’t mean you take up an air of arrogance. Rather, you speak with confidence and carry yourself in a way that does justice to your offer.
As you step into this presentation, remember, you are bringing value to their organization. As long as you show respect for the executive’s time, there’s no need to worry about whether you’re taking too much of it. As long as their needs are directly addressed, you’ll have the executive’s undivided attention. Be concise, listen more than talk, cut to the marrow of your presentation, and always come prepared. Communicate the value of your product or service in this way and you’ll be closing loads of deals in the coming weeks, months, and years.
And remember, here at C-Level Partners, we specialize in getting qualified sales appointments with C-level executives. We act as an extension to your sales team, and we have the expertise and firepower to load your sales funnel to the brim. So if you’re ready to crush your sales numbers for 2019 and beyond, get in touch to see how we might work together.
Until next time…